What does a room full of 200 people sampling five of Queensland’s best cuts of beef smell like?

Like a very well-cooked steak.

Key points:

  • The steaks were measured on tenderness, dryness, flavour and overall appeal
  • All competitors enter the same cut, with strict parameters around breed and marbling
  • The winner was Stanbroke’s Chinchilla-fed, Grantham-processed striploin

That was the aroma wafting around Brisbane’s Regatta Hotel on Monday night, when north Queensland cattle company Stanbroke was crowned the hotel’s Beef Off champion for the fifth time, and the second year in a row.

The winning steak was a 120-day grain-fed Angus striploin with a marble score of two to three. 

With such a large judging panel — comprised equally of representatives from the five competing beef companies and people who just love a good steak — you might expect a split decision on which was best.

But Stanbroke sales manager Mark Harris claims it was a “pretty resounding victory”. 

A group of men pose for a picture with a winning plaque.

The Stanbroke team celebrates yet again.(

Supplied: Stanbroke

)

“They know what they’re doing, they know their product, they’re very hard markers.

“They all provided feedback that [our] overall flavour and texture was hands down the winner.

“To win in that sort of environment is an excellent result.”

Chef’s kiss of death possible

In such a high-steaks competition (pun intended), quality control is paramount.

All competitors enter the same cut of meat, with strict parameters around breed and marbling score.

“Everybody is on a level playing field,” Mr Harris said.

At the end of the day, however, the fate of the competition rests in the hands of the chef — a moment of overcooking could see a competitor’s chance at delicious, beefy glory go up in flames.

But Mr Harris said he had no beef (again, no apologies) with what was plated up. 

“The Regatta Hotel [is] obviously very famous for its steaks and they do an excellent job. 

“All the steaks were really consistent and really well cooked.”

An aerial drone shot of an industrial cattle feedlot.

The Stanbroke feedlot in Chinchilla in southern Queensland.  (

Supplied: Stanbroke

)

Steaks tender but competition tough

Mr Harris said his blind taste testing didn’t leave him confident that Stanbroke’s Chinchilla-fed, Grantham-processed beef would win. 

He said the tough competition was a welcome reflection of the standard of beef coming out of southern Queensland in recent years, with good seasons working in graziers’ favour. 

“The quality of the cattle is just sensational at the moment,” Mr Harris said.

“We’re seeing that of course in the meat, but also in our production data — carcass weights, carcass performance. 

“The graziers out there are certainly doing a sensational job.”

The steaks were tender and competition tough, but there’s no beef over top prize
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